Staying Healthy This Holiday Season

Many of us feel that  the holiday season is one long season to indulge! Come January first, many of us will be returning to our scales to see that we have gained 5, 10 or even 15 pounds that we had worked so hard to keep off over the year.  Did we really work so hard all year round to give it all up in one month?!!  As the season approaches, I’m constantly being asked how to keep those extra pounds from sneaking back on over the next month.  I’m sure most of you will agree that it seems that weight is sometimes difficult to lose but creeps back on over night! Of course there are those who say indulge over the holiday season and watch the rest of the year.  While I’m an advocate for the occasional indulgence, having your weight yo-yo up and down throughout the year can put you at risk for many chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.  Some people even become stressed out over the thought that all their hard work is going to go in the trash because of the holiday season.  Keep your stress at bay with some tips to get you through till the New Year comes and you are back to your normal routine.

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Health Effects of Added Sugars

More and more we are finding out that increased added sugars in our diets, coming from the large amount of sugar sweetened beverages and processed foods we consume in the United States, is leading to increased numbers of overweight, obesity and many chronic diseases.  In part 1 of my sugar series- The Truth About Sugar!, I discuss how to determine the difference between an added sugar and a natural sugar.  In this article, part 2 of the sugar series, I discuss the health effects that these added sugars are having on our population. 

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The Truth About SUGAR!

Sugar- it is lurking in almost all the foods we consume in our diets.  If you are buying something that comes in a package, box or, can, there is a good chance that sugar has been added to that product.  We are constantly hearing that sugar is bad for us but is it really?

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Vegan Quinoa Salad

Eating vegan is a trend that is on the rise.  People decide to eat vegan foods for several reasons including animal rights and religious reasons.  While I am not a vegan there will be times that I eat vegan foods.  I will stress that just because you are eating vegan does not mean that you will be healthier as foods such as potato chips, French fries and Oreos are all vegan foods.  Also, if you choose to eat a diet containing animal products, you can eat a very healthy diet.  The key here is whatever type of diet you choose to consume whether it is vegan, vegetarian or including animal foods, the choices you make within that diet are the answer to staying healthy.

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5 Ingredient Healthy Pumpkin Bread

Just like so many of you, my mornings are filled with stress and anxiety as I rush out the door with a long, busy day ahead of me.  Preparing breakfast in the morning is not always an option if I want to get a solid eight hours of sleep.  Skipping breakfast can be detrimental to maintaining your weight and health goals, so having something on hand that you can grab on your way out the door can be the difference from eating breakfast or not.  Because of this, I’m always trying to think of new, quick, and easy breakfast options that will provide me with the nutrients to not only fuel my body and day but to keep me satiated until lunch time!  This protein bread is a perfect addition to your healthy breakfast options.   After many different tries with making a protein based bread, I finally concocted one with the perfect texture.  Where as many people will associate pumpkin with the flavor of the highly sweetened pumpkin taste we have all come to know and love, this bread is not sweet at all as no sugars have been added. Instead this recipe is a bit more on the savory side.  Even without adding sugar to sweeten this bread, it has become a very popular recipe for many of my clients. 

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New Year, New You! Making Resolutions that last in 2017

For a lot of people, the start of a new year means the start of many other “new” things.   Millions of people make New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of each new year.  Anything from quitting smoking, saving money, being more positive and losing weight are among the most popular ones.   Walk into any gym the start of the new year and it will be packed.  However, come February, the crowds will start to dissipate and the gym will be back to normal.  Most people do not make it through the entire year pursing their resolutions.  Some only make it a few months, some only a few weeks and only a third make it to the end of January.  What are the keys to making a successful New Year’s Resolution?

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Healthy Food Trends of 2016- Are They Worth the Hype?

New food trends are continually hitting our grocery store shelves.  In the past we may have noticed new food items while shopping that we had never heard of before.  Now with social media, you don’t have to be in the grocery store to learn about all the new food trends because you are bombarded with it on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  Things like chia seeds, quinoa, root beets, gluten free foods, bone broth and GMO free foods have been among the health food trends over the past few years.  As I’m sure you have noticed, some of these food items are “in” for a while and we never hear of them again or they stick around for the long haul.  2016 was no different in the health food industry.  Here are some of the health food trends we saw in 2016 and whether you should keep them around in 2017.

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Ranch Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

After making my vegetable stuffed pumpkin I couldn’t even think of throwing away the pumpkin seeds! They are way to precious!  Not only are they delicious, but pumpkin seeds are packed full of nutrients including magnesium, iron, zinc and protein just to name a few. There are so many different seasonings you can put on your pumpkin seeds, but I decided to do a ranch seasoning.  Here is how to get started.

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Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Pumpkin and Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Acorn Squash

With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, I have started to think of things I can make for holiday parties.  While we are subjected to a mass number of tasty appetizers, entrees and desserts, what is often missing at these parties is anything with nutrient value, resulting in a larger waistline come the new year.  As holiday weight gain can be significant for many people, a lot of us strive to at least maintain their weight through the holiday season.  With all of this in mind, I was asked to make a vegetable dish for Thanksgiving and it got me thinking, how can I spruce up boring vegetables while not adding a bunch of ingredients to them to make them unhealthy? I started thinking about acorn squash and what I could do with it so that everyone got their own individual acorn squash and then my idea grew to an entire pumpkin that would not only provide a nutrient filled side dish, but also some aesthetic appeal to the dinner table.  This recipe can be used for both a whole roasted pumpkin or to provide each person with the special touch of an individual acorn squash.  Both recipes are provided here.

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Spaghetti Squash Boat with Meat Sauce

Feeling like spaghetti tonight but don’t want to consume the refined carbohydrates that come along with pasta?  A good substitute is spaghetti squash.  If you have never had spaghetti squash or are wondering what exactly it is, it is a yellow/orange fruit that you will find in the grocery store with other squashes and gourdes such as acorn squash and cooking pumpkins. When slicing open the spaghetti squash you will find a bunch of seeds in the middle similar to what you would find if you cut open a pumpkin.  When the squash is raw, it is pretty solid, but once you cook it the flesh is easily brought away from the skin with a fork in strands and resembles spaghetti.

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Coconut Oil- Foe or Friend?

In the past couple years it seems the trend has been to use coconut in everything.  From coconut oil to coconut flour and coconut water, it seems that the coconut industry is booming.  So is this new love for coconut just a trend or is there any real health benefit from all these coconut products.

It wasn’t until recently that people started swapping out their products for their coconut counterparts and that’s because coconut is high in saturated fats which has long been thought to have a strong link with heart disease.  To give you a comparison, coconut oil is ~91% saturated while beef is ~50% saturated and butter ~63% saturated.  Now people are claiming that although coconut products are high in saturated fats, it is not necessarily bad for you, that it doesn’t contribute to heart disease risk and that there are many other benefits to consuming coconut products.

So what’s the difference between the saturated fat found in coconut oil and other saturated fats?

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High Cholesterol? Nutrition Can Help!

According to the CDC,  among the leading causes of death in the United States, heart disease (which includes heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases) ranks at number one claiming 611,105 deaths in 2013  which is about one in every four Americans.  Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease killing over 370,000 people in the United States each year.   Did you know that every year, about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack)? Although there are many risk factors for heart disease that we are unable to control such as age, gender, race or ethnicity and genetics, there are many risk factors that we DO have the ability to control.  The three key risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking and half of Americans have at least one of these risk factors.  What are the risk factors that you can have an impact on?  Your LIFESTYLE!  One of the biggest concerns and inquiries I get as a dietitian is my cholesterol is high!  What can I do to change that?  And rightly so because having high cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease!  First let’s talk about what cholesterol is and what your lab work means.


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You are what you eat so what are you made of?

You’ve heard the saying before- you are what you eat.  But some people say why would I want to be a bland vegetable rather than a delicious jelly donut?  The answer is not as simple as taste.

Without going into great scientific detail, the body is made up of every nutrient through the food we eat.  Think of it, nutrients needed to support the development and function of your red blood cells are the nutrients folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin A, iron and copper.  When it comes to our skin, we can sometimes tell what someone’s diet is like just by what is going on with their skin.  Nutrients important to maintain healthy looking skin include vitamins C,E,A,K, the B vitamins not to mention all the phytochemicals, water and protein that come into play here.   Your hair is made primarily of protein but needs iron, zinc and biotin to stay healthy.  To name a few of the bone building materials I’d say vitamins D, K, C, A and the minerals calcium and phosphorus as well as protein and omega 3 fatty acids top the list.  I could go on and on with each body part and body process but I’ll spare you’re the details.  I often get asked how is my skin so clear, or how is my hair so shiny and although genetics plays a role in this as well, my answer is always MY DIET!!!

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